mental health, physical activity, SLC-90, sport

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Purpose: Over 90% of college students have experienced negative mental health symptoms due to the pandemic, according to a survey from BestColleges.com. More than half (54%) of college students believe COVID-19 circumstances have impacted their mental health. Although the pandemic's influence on mental health expanded, not all students have felt its effects to the same degree. Physical activity has been reported to have many physical and mental health benefits. Students at sport universities tend to participate in more sport and physical activity. During the pandemic, student cadres are expected to take more responsibilities such as coordinating COVID-19 tests and interacting with more students. The purpose of this study was to examine the mental health of student cadres at a sport university in southwest China. Methods: Literature research, field observation and a survey questionnaire were used in this study. Forty college student cadres were surveyed from a sport university in Sichuan province. The Self-rating Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90) scale was used to estimate the mental status of students. A total of 33 surveys were returned with 29 valid samples were analyzed. Among the samples there were 13 males and 16 females with an average age of 19.62. The results were compared with general college students’ mental health reported in the literature. Results: According to a recent systematic review by meta-analysis, the anxiety prevalence was 33% in Asia, 51% in Europe, and 56% in the USA. University students have a high prevalence of anxiety, indicating an increased mental health burden during this pandemic. Only 6.9% of student cadres in this study showed anxiety symptoms. According to the SLC-90 score, compared with the documented normal mental health rate (62.2%) in the literature, the survey found 79.31% of sport university student cadres are in a normal mental health status. Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic has impacted college students’ mental health. However, the student cadres of the sport university had a higher rate of normal mental health than the average rate reported in the literature, even though they had more responsibility and risks of being exposed to positive cases. It indicates sport and physical activity may reduce the mental health impact caused by the pandemic.